Halloween Costumes: Where’s the line?

Candler Clark, Opinions Editor

With Halloween coming up soon, people are beginning to voice their concerns over cultural appropriation. In the past, many people have taken ideas for Halloween costumes from other cultures, wearing sacred clothing, items, or tattoos.

A very controversial part of this debate is dressing in traditional Indian head dresses, or wearing costumes that are a mockery of traditional Indian clothing.

I think that Native American people should have say as to what happens to their culture. Certain symbols, like head dresses lined with feathers, often seen at Coachella, are sacred to the native peoples. Taking these symbols lightly is a show of blatant disrespect to their culture.

A controversial branch of this topic deals with the Disney character Pocahontas, and whether children should be able to dress as Pocahontas. I think that, at the time that the Pocahontas movie was animated, cultural appropriation and political correctness weren’t a priority of Disney. Pocahontas represents a potentially racist symbol, that shouldn’t be a costume.

Aside from Native issues, blackface and yellow face have been issues as well.

Black face has historical roots in racism, were white men would play black men on tv and mock them by painting their face black, and their lips bright red. Even if the wearer has good intentions, such as portraying civil rights leaders, the act is completely unacceptable, due to its racist connotation.

Yellow face is the same issue; white actors and trick or treaters have dressed in traditional Asian clothing, such as kabuki masks, sumo costumes, and wearing Geisha makeup.

In summation, when costume shopping, don’t look for a costume that portrays or mocks something of cultural significance to another race outside of your own. Be creative.